How do you reconcile an appreciation for the aesthetic of taxidermy with your distaste for the bloodshed involved? Easy: you fake it. Wisconsin-based artist Kelly Rene Jelinek found a creative way to mimic the artform by using recycled materials that are cruelty-free and much more vibrant than the palate of traditional taxidermy.
Jelinek creates the upholstered sculptures at Little Stag Studio, her workspace in Kiel, Wisconsin. The name is a nod to her own surname, which according to her website means “little stag” in Czech. (The affinity for fauna is clearly a birthright.)
“When I was a child, I spent most of my time with my nose in fairytale books,” Jelinek writes. “I absolutely marveled how the impossible was made possible in those stories.”
The desire to create a “magical and extraordinary” world like the one from her childhood is what inspired the artist to flip the 200-plus year-old taxidermy practice on its head, using vintage coats, recycled upholstery, and other fabric scraps to make decorative mounted heads, as well as full faux-taxidermy bodies.
“I think that many people find the twist of taking something traditional and perhaps nostalgic—taxidermy and upholstery—and combining them together is what makes them interesting and appealing,” Jelinek told GOOD. “They’re ‘out of the box,’ but not something overwhelmingly strange or foreign.”
Check out some of the artist’s handiwork below, and head to the Little Stag Studio website to find out how to get your hands on one.
Images via Little Stag Studio on Facebook